Monday 17 July 2023
Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has expressed government’s commitment and support for the newly formed Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), heralding it as a significant milestone in the fight against corruption.
The commission gained momentum with the recent arrival of three highly qualified and experienced ICAC Commissioners.
They include; Mr. Andrew Forbes, Commissioner; Mr. Daniel Baulch, Deputy Commissioner of Operations and Technical Services; and Mr. Graham Gill, Deputy Commissioner of Prevention and Corporate Administration.
Commissioner Andrew Forbes brings over 30 years of legal expertise to his role and is a renowned legal professional from Australia. With a background in contentious disputes, disciplinary proceedings, and regulatory matters, his appointment significantly bolsters the Commission’s capabilities.
Deputy Commissioner Daniel Baulch, also hails from Australia, and has over 20 years of law enforcement experience, having previously served as a police officer with Victoria Police. His extensive investigative background will undoubtedly enhance the operational effectiveness of the Commission.
Deputy Commissioner Graham Gill, a distinguished professional from New Zealand, previously held the position of Deputy Chief Executive Corporate and Strategy with the New Zealand Serious Fraud Office. With 26 years of experience in prevention work and investigations, his invaluable insights will contribute to the success of ICAC.
“To ensure utmost impartiality, the Commissioners were selected under the oversight of Transparency International, led by Chairman Mr. Peter Aitsi, thereby alleviating concerns regarding Papua New Guineans leading ICAC,” emphasised Prime Minister Marape.
Recognising the devastating impact of rampant corruption on the nation’s progress, Prime Minister Marape has been an unwavering advocate for the establishment of ICAC since assuming office in May 2019.
The culmination of these efforts led to the passage of the ICAC Bill in November 2020.
“The ICAC Appointments Committee comprised the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Chief Justice, Chief Ombudsman, Public Service Commission Chairman, and Transparency International, providing comprehensive oversight.
“I assure the people of Papua New Guinea that ICAC will receive full support and resources to ensure its seamless operation. This government will never compromise on ICAC’s integrity and effectiveness.”
Prime Minister Marape clarified that ICAC’s establishment does not diminish the important work carried out by the Ombudsman Commission, the Police, or other anti-corruption agencies. Instead, ICAC will focus on strengthening the fight against corruption by providing teeth and bite to combat this pervasive problem.
Corruption, a pressing concern plaguing the nation, poses a significant threat to the economy. In order to achieve the vision of a K200 billion economy, eradicating corruption becomes paramount. Complemented by the Whistle Blowers’ Act (2020) and the Proceeds of Crime Act (2022), ICAC will be an instrumental force in our battle against corruption.
“ICAC’s establishment is a cause for celebration as we approach Papua New Guinea’s 50th anniversary of nationhood in 2025.
“This milestone has been made possible through the support of Members of Parliament who recognise the damage caused by corruption in our country,” stated Prime Minister Marape.
The Prime Minister emphasised that ICAC alone cannot effectively combat corruption. He urged citizens at all levels, including Local-Level Governments (LLGs), districts, provinces, and the public service, to report cases of corruption.
“They now have an added opportunity to bring these allegations, with evidence, to ICAC,” he said.
Prime Minister Marape expressed his concern regarding serious allegations of corruption shared on social media without corresponding evidence reported to appropriate authorities.
“We all have a responsibility to fight corruption for the betterment of our beloved country by reporting cases.
“A stronger economy can only be realised if we eliminate the deep-rooted corruption that plagues our society,” highlighted Prime Minister Marape.
Prime Minister Marape issued a stern warning to political and public service leaders, emphasizing that ICAC’s arrival places them under intense scrutiny.
“ ICAC will relentlessly combat corruption, and he advised against soliciting or accepting bribes, urging everyone to earn an honest day’s pay.”